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The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (African American) Paperback – December 19, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This is the first paperback facsimile edition of a work which contributed strongly to the Black people's struggle for freedom and equality.

Born in slavery in Maryland in 1817, Frederick Douglass escaped from servitude twenty years later, joined the ranks of the Abolitionists and devoted a long and fruitful life to the winning of freedom for his people.

Douglass worked with William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and John Brown, and during the Civil War was so highly regarded by Abraham Lincoln for his contributions to the Union cause that the Great Emancipator called him "the most meritorious person I have ever seen." A fervent integrationist, Douglass was the first of the "freedom riders" and "sit-ins". He felt that true freedom could not come for him until all Blacks were free and equal, and he gave voice and direction to the movement to achieve this goal.

Told in Frederick Douglass's own words, this volume is an important work of Americana. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (Frederick Douglass) was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland. He took the name Douglass after escaping from the South in 1838.

As a leader in the abolitionist movement, Douglass was famed for his eloquent yet incisive political writing. And, like his near-contemporary, Booker T. Washington, understood the central importance of education in improving the lives of African Americans, and was therefore an early proponent of desegregation.

A firm believer in equal rights for all, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C., in the hours before his death in February 1895.

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Product Details

  • Series: African American
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (December 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486431703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486431703
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #554,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Part slave narrative, part political memoir, this book is very touching and inspiring, as well as very insightful in describing the disastrous moral, religious, social and political effects of slavery on the United States.

Despite many bitter experiences, Frederick Douglass seems to have been a very noble and kindhearted person, who cared deeply for the elevation of his people. I also admired his willingness to learn and to change his views when appropriate. As a young man, after escaping to Massachusetts from a harsh life as a slave in Maryland, he became a staunch follower of William Lloyd Garrison. According to the Garrisonians, the Constitution of the United States, since it allowed for slavery in the South, was a pro-slavery document, and, therefore, any participation in the American political system was morally wrong. Abolitionists, Douglass thought, should refrain from voting, and the Northern states should immediately dissolve the Union with the Southern states. Later, after further research and study, Douglass broke with the Garrisonians. He concluded that the Constitution was actually an anti-slavery document, and that the American political system was intended to promote liberty and justice. Thereafter, Douglass' concern became preserving the Union and working to end slavery within the framework of the Constitution. He put this determination to great effect during the Civil War, actively recruiting black troops for the Union cause.

Like many abolitionists, Douglass initially despised Abraham Lincoln for tolerating slavery where it already existed in the South, and for merely opposing its extension into new territories in the hope that this containment would ultimately lead to the extinction of slavery.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Frederick Douglass’ autobiography is compelling. He was born into slavery, liberated himself, became a powerful abolitionist speaker, and counseled American presidents. He was a most remarkable man. As a slave, Frederick Douglass was prohibited from obtaining a formal education, but his autobiography demonstrates the power a motivated individual can have in learning outside of the classroom, a lesson we should never forget.

Frederick Douglass had direct, personal experience with historical events and personalities. His unique insights into slavery, the Civil War era, and Abraham Lincoln are fascinating as is his commentary concerning human nature in general. He provides a perspective of the era that I have not found in other books, particularly his views of Abraham Lincoln (pages 250-260 & 353-358).

There is much to learn from this book, which is well worth reading. The following are some illustrative passages from the book:

“Very well,” thought I. “Knowledge makes a child unfit to be a slave.” I instinctively assented to the proposition, and from that moment I understood the direct pathway from slavery to freedom. (page 50)

There, too, was my dear old father [Douglass' spiritual leader, not biological his father], the pious Lawson, who was in all the Christian graces the very counterpart of “Uncle Tom” – the resemblance so perfect that he might have been the original of Mrs. Stowe’s Christian hero. (page 66)

The slaveholders there, like slaveholders elsewhere, preferred to see the slaves engaged in degrading sports, rather than acting like moral and accountable beings.
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By A Customer on October 25, 1998
Format: Library Binding
This book, written in Douglass' later years, not only lifted my spirits but did a great deal to reestablish my faith in humanity. This was a man who had every opportunity, and reason, to be bitter and/or vengeful. He, instead, chose to fight, with his intellect and his golden tongue, for what he, and others chained in slavery and social subservience, rightfully disserved as a member of our human race. He was a man of conviction and inner strength who taught himself to write with an elegance that I have never seen equaled. I strongly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an inspiring book. Born a slave, it took monumental courage and tenacity for Douglass to become the scholar, activist and leader that he describes in this book. His writing is both powerful and beautiful. Despite all the brutality and injustice in his early life, he never became bitter and never gave up. He also judged men one at a time, regardless of race. If you are looking for some motivation and inspiration to spur you on in life, if you want to read about a real hero, I highly recommend this book.
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By KRS on November 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wish I had read this book sooner. Douglass is such a pleasure to read and he is masterful in his story telling. His life story was riveting and there are so many memorable quotes to be had from the book.. I came away with a much better understanding of the days leading up to the Civil War. Reading Douglass' description of the leaders of his time and the attitude of the public goes a long way to better understanding the time leading up to the Civil War. I can't wait to read some of his other works.
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